The U15’s returned from their tour to the French International Festival Of Rugby in Arras armed with the bowl trophy.
The two teams made up of 38 players played in 9 matches over two days against top UK teams from Wilmslow, Sidcup, Mumbles, Clevedon, Stourbridge, Bromsgrove, Brentwood and RC Arras from the host club.
A huge double decker coach took all 75 of us from The Athletic Ground to Arras via the Channel Tunnel arriving late on Friday night.
Saturday morning at the team briefing in the Mercure Hotel meeting room we remembered the London Scottish 1st XV going to the Somme in 1914 with an excellent recital of the poem London Scottish 1914 by Mick Imlah read out by Tom Henfrey the U15 pack leader who reminded the players and parents of this poignient piece of club history. To lighten the moment we then announced the two U15 teams, The Highlanders and the Claymores and presented each player with his shirt before heading off for a light lunch.
On Saturday afternoon at RC Arras on a cold and damp pitch both teams played back to back 20 minute games finishing at 18.30, both teams playing hard and tough rugby with 2 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses. Our hard working club physics Kylie Johncock and Morag Paterson worked hard to keep the boys going, repairing and strapping the knocks of the afternoon before returning the the hotel for an evening buffet and an early 'ish night.
Sunday morning U15 lead coach Jerry Collier presented the motivational video, 'I am a Champion' to the boys and afterwards turned the hotel meeting room into a physiotherapy clinic where we strapped and prepared the players for the afternoon engagements. On arrival at RC Arras we went straight into it, two games against Brentwood and Mumbles which lead us to the Bowl Final against Clevedon, a game where we saw two tries from Zac Roberts and tries each from Diep Purvis, Barend Pieterse, James Collier and Will Banes who finally beat Clevedon 30-10 to let James Ferguson (Captain) and Joe Theobald (Vice Captain) lift the Bowl.
Sunday night all 75 tourists headed to a good local restaurant Au Quai 8 that opened especially for us on French Election night where we held the U15 awards and end of season dinner. A great night was had as we celebrated the 2011/12 season award winners, with Diep Purvis, Tristan Davies, Tom Henfrey, Scott Rees, Joe Meredith, Joe Theobald and Zac Roberts all collecting gongs on the night, congratulations to them and all the U15's who played great rugby on tour and during the season in the Herts Middlesex League Division Two.
'I am a champion' – they can say it now!